Detailed Plans To Balance Budget ‘Not Fully Developed’ Says Council’s Auditors

town hall 4The Council still doesn’t have detailed plans in place to save over £670,000 – the amount required to balance this year’s budget.

These are the findings of the authority’s auditors from Grant Thornton, whose report was presented to yesterday’s Special Full Council meeting.

The savings were agreed by councillors back in March and included plans to cut £120,000 off the salary budget by reducing the number of senior managers and moving the Council’s One Stop Shop to the library, saving a further £25,000.

Officers also estimated that £50,000 could come from tendering out the ‘Active Scilly’ service, which covers the sports hall, gym and swimming pool.

But with almost half the financial year already gone, the auditors say that, “although headline savings plans are in place our work identified that the detail behind these plans are not fully developed.”

In particular, they’ve highlighted the Council’s own assessment that £200,000 of those savings will be “difficult to achieve” and will have an impact on cash reserves.

And the auditors warn, “there is a risk that depleting resources further could impact on the efficient running of the Council and delivery of core services.

“We concluded that there were weaknesses in the Councils arrangements for planning finances to support the sustainable delivery of strategic priorities and maintain statutory functions.”

The auditors’ findings – particularly a number of errors in the Council’s financial statements for 2015/16 – support previous internal and external reports that say that the authority’s overall control environment in finance is poor.

The Auditors’ Report is still awaiting sign off because further supporting evidence was required from the Council’s finance department.

This, the auditors conclude, was due to a lack of resource through staff vacancies and sickness. It resulted in the audit being suspended to give the finance team time to resolve issues and will result in an additional cost to the Council.

We contacted the Council Chairman, Cllr Amanda Martin, to comment on the findings of the auditors.

She declined, saying: “Once the draft Audit Report for 2015/16 has been finalised and debated at a Full Council meeting I shall be available for comment via the Press Office of the Council of the Isles of Scilly.”

5 Responses to Detailed Plans To Balance Budget ‘Not Fully Developed’ Says Council’s Auditors

  1. Hudson September 29, 2016 at 12:00 am

    So hungry for power that she destroyed anything that worked to get it, now she has it she evidently hasn’t a clue how to use it.
    All that plotting and putting up with the company of the Telegraph mental minnows just to get where she is today; better that she devoted her vaunted Oxford intellectual prowess on a plan or at least endeavouring to employ someone who new what a plan looked like.
    She has however convincingly destroyed the argument that you only need to pay peanuts to get monkeys.

  2. Sue M September 28, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    The current Chairman has been in the seat long enough to have gotten a grip on this situation – there’s no excuse. The council along with the chief exec has had ample time to rectify the situation in the finance department. I think it is time for her to admit defeat and to stand down. But of course we all know she won’t do that…

    • Todd Stevens September 28, 2016 at 8:04 pm


  3. Berths Mason September 28, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    What no comment? You’re a self proclaimed linguist, surely you’ve something to say about an all too evident inability to balance our books under your chairmanship.
    Time to resign?

    • Adam Morton, St.Martins September 29, 2016 at 9:08 am

      Don’t you know? The savings are hiding in an old IT system! Spend lots of money on new computers for the town hall and all will be resolved!!!! By which time everyone will have forgotten the story.